Am I different than four months ago?

Wow.. Literally you can say that the time flies.

It seems to me that only yesterday I saw Maastricht in all its glory and I thought that here you can certainly live well or I sat in my first PBL lecture and thought, damn why is everyone speaking English so well. And I can remember when I first saw the paper list of my courses and I thought when should I read all this?

But now it’s almost over. And I miss it already discussing in class with other students or to walk along the Maas River and enjoying the weather. To explore the city and enjoy my time in Maastricht.

So what could I recommend you in the end? Enjoy it, do quiet things that you would never do otherwise. Talk to people you would not talk to otherwise. Be active, make new experiences, try new things. We have to grow together in this world because we only have one, and Maastricht is a good example of how well this can work. I am really proud that I can now say that I once studied at the University of Maastricht.

A lot of new people that I met became real friends, the new impressions of a country I have collected from which I did not know much before, will affect me throughout my life.

I am really glad that i took on this journey and can only recommend it to every one.

I wish you all happy holidays, merry christmas and a happy new year.

 

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Exam Time…

So, now after the first acclimatization time and a lot of learning, the first exams started.

The exams are written in Maastricht within about two weeks, although you only have to prepare for two in each term, but the amount is still not small. It is difficult to estimate which tasks will occur in the exam because the amount of texts being treated is large and there is no old exam to look for. For this reason, you have to put a lot of time into the preparation for the exam.

It was very interesting to find out that many exams are written in the same room at the same time. The exams themselves are written in a large hall in the “MECC”. UM Maastricht puts a lot of effort to prevent the students from cheating during the exam. For example: If you want to go to the toilet during an exam, you have to get in touch with the supervisor and hand in your student card. At the entrance to the toilet there are other supervisors ready to check that no one enters the toilete with electronic devices, they even have extra equipment around them to control the students.

The exam was pleasant in itself, there are quite a few tasks to guarantee points and you have enough time for all tasks. It was a pity that it was not allowed to use a dictionary because there are still some words I do not know. The exam results are worse than expected, but I am glad that they are over now and I can deal with new subjects.

The time after the exams I used to explore Maastricht together with my girlfriend. Maastricht is really a colorful and open city, where everyone can feel comfortable. Since my girlfriend is vegan it’s not always easy to eat in cities, but Maastricht is a positive example here. Both at the university there are opportunities to use vegan products as well as in the city. A coffeebar we liked very well was “KAFETHÉA”. There is not only good coffee, but also really delicious vegan cakes.

I am looking forward to the rest of my time in Maastricht and to further experiences.

A lot of Work

It is now over a month since I started my semester abroad and it is time for a first interim conclusion.

Maastricht is still a beautiful city, as long as it is not raining. People are still as loose and open as at the beginning. The teaching method “Problem Based Learning” short PBL means primarily a huge amount of work. The teaching units, if everyone is participating, are really interesting and a nice variation to the normal teaching at my home university, but the free time is dominated by the preparations for the next lesson.

The biggest shock for me, came on the second day. I was told during the Introduction Days that you have to reckon with about 15 to 20 hrs a week per subject, but I did not really believe that. On the second day I was proved wrong. In almost every course you will be asked for a permanent work, for each hour you have to read about 20 pages of paper, understand and answer questions that are then discussed during the tutorial in the class. In some courses, you also need to submit weekly reports and prepare presentations. I have enrolled in two courses for the first semester, which takes place twice a week. Accordingly, my leisure time is pretty tight. First of all, it took a lot of time and effort to get used to workload. One reason for this was that I was not used to reading and speaking exclusively in English. Another big difference is that in Maastricht the semester is divided into several terms, they each last two months and within a term you usually write two exams, this is also a reason for the high workload. I have adapted myself to the workload and my participating has drasticaly increased over the time and have no more inhibitions to speak in English, however the matter becomes also more difficult as one penetrates deeper into the theory whereby the work effort remains constant at a high level.

Another problem that I faced at the beginning of the semester was to find a suitable parking space for my car. This was not easy at all. In Maastricht, there are very few parking lots and all that are located in the inner city and therefore also in the immediate vicinity of the university are subject to a charge. The cheapest parking lot I found “P + W Kennedybrug” costs per day 6 euros and is located about 14 minutes from the Business School. Another possibility to park cheaply in Maastricht is the application for a residents’ parking permit. This costs around 60 euros for a year and you can then park in certain areas that are assigned to one. But I decided against it because it is probably difficult to get one and since my car is not registered on me but on my father, so it would be even more complicated. Last but not least, I found the best way to park in Maastricht and this is a parking lot about 20 minutes away from the university and is outside the park zone and is free of charge. This is located at the “Oog van Sint Pieter” and is the insider tip for parking. Here you see a lot of foreign number plates, but you also need a little luck to get a free parking space.

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I am really looking forward to the first exams, and then I will finally be able to take a break and explore more the surroundings. See you soon.

New Journey

Hello my name is Mirza Lakota and I am an exchange student from Germany from the RWTH Aachen. I am currently studying in the second Master Semester General Management and did not want to miss the opportunity to spend a semester at UM Maastricht. The UM Maastricht has an excellent reputation and with the Problem Based Learning a completely different teaching concept than my home university.

Maybe some will say, because of proximity from Aachen to Maastricht, that it is not a “real” Erasmus semester, but for me it is 🙂 . I saw quite different advantages in this Erasmus stay.

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I stayed in Aachen because of the proximity and high rental rates in Maastricht. The other three Aachen students did the same. As I later discovered, there are also some other students who chose Aachen as their place of residence and therefore preferred the longer distance because of the high rental costs.

So now started my Erasmus semester and my first impression was simply said WOW. The people were all very easygoing, it was very easy to get in touch and the university is very international! At UM Maastricht, students from about 50 different countries study. And the Dutch speak all perfect English, no matter if professor or cashier, everyone speaks as if it is their mother tongue, until then I thought my English is good, well … The city is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen and has a really good quality of life, I almost regret that I made my decision not to move to Maastricht.

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 I have also used the opportunity, since I am already in the Netherlands, for a short detour to the sea, the trip to Noordwijk took only two hours, but it was worth it! An endless sandy beach and the vast ocean. Unfortunately it was a bit too cold to jump into the water, but I will make it again as soon as nice weather is.
My first impression in a few words: international, perfect english, communication, water everywhere, Old Town flair, bicycles!!!